Cameroon: investing in education and teachers
The National Autonomous Union of Secondary School Teachers (SNAES), a member of the Federation of Education and Research Unions (FESER) affiliated to EI, called attention to the need for quality teachers.
A call to teachers on 5 October
“In Cameroon, the 5th of October will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the major demonstrations of 1993-1994 which saw the largest ever mobilization of Cameroonian teachers", said Secretary General of the SNAES Roger Kaffo. "In 1993-1994, Cameroonian teachers wanted to see a change in their living and working conditions but, above all, they wanted to bring change to the school system. Twenty years on, the challenge is more relevant than ever.”
He stated that “A nation's first and most important project should be its human resources”. He also added that “The more properly trained citizens we have, the richer our country will be.”
Kaffo also stated being disappointed with the fact that the relative value of education's share in the state budget has been steadily decreasing since 2008. He added that it had decreased by 4.5 points in 2012 and shows no signs of improvement.
Kaffo urged that “The Cameroonian state should give education the billions which have been taken away from it over the past 5 years”. “This budget will help to build and equip the schools currently abandoned to the APEEs (Parent-Teachers' Associations), to recruit and train the young people currently being exploited in an unacceptable way as contractors in the classrooms. Giving back the resources which are taken away from it every year will provide our school system with the means to attribute a significant research and documentation bonus to its staff, to finance the re-evaluation of its management's pay scale, to restore an operational budget to its schools which have been deprived of such a budget over the past few years. Yes, restoring its means will enable our school system to stop relying on resourcefulness and the detestable minimum package, and take on the essential work of improving the quality of education.”
“A school system fostering development is above all a framework for delivering quality education. And how can education be of any quality if it is not truly civic-minded?”, he then asked.
This is why the SNAES is calling on teachers to join it in the fight for better school governance.
WTD 2013 under the sign of cooperation
The WTD also served to highlight the cooperation between the Cameroonian trade unions and their Swedish counterpart, Lärarförbundet, under the auspices of EI.
On 5 October, teacher trade unionists and supporters met on the city's main square of ceremonies to walk under their trade unions' banners.
Following this public demonstration, certain school directors gathered their staff to celebrate WTD.
On 28 September, a sporting walk was co-organized in Dschang, an university town in the western region of Cameroon, by the SNAES and the Union of workers of private education establishments in Cameroon (SYNTESPRIC), an EI member organization.
On 1 October, a radio programme organized by Radio Yemba enabled the SNAES to clarify the meaning of this years call to teachers.
On the afternoon of 2 October, a large round table also enabled teachers to discuss the theme: “Education and vocation today: why, for who and under what conditions?”
A second radio programme was broadcast on Radio Nguila’ on 4 October.
“We support the struggle of our colleagues in Cameroon towards ensuring quality education for all throughout the country,” responded EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We ask that the public authorities listen attentively to the teachers' voices which were so strongly manifested on the occasion of World Teachers' Day. We also wish to remind them that the government bears the responsibility for free and quality public education, which is the only way to ensure a prosperous future for any community.”